Email Subject Lines: 7 Tips to Craft Subject Lines that Actually Get Opened

Email Subject Lines: 7 Tips to Craft Subject Lines That Actually Get Opened (+ examples)

Your Email Subject lines can be just important as your actual email! Some experts may even argue that it’s more important… Expert copywriters will tell you they spend more time on the headline then they do the rest of their copy… YouTuber’s will tell you they spend more time on their ‘thumbnail’ then they do their actual video… So in saying that – here are my top tips for crafting a catchy subject line.

Tip #1: Write your email first… and then write the subject line!

This is a simple one… but a good one! It’s hard to come up with a good subject line our of thin air… before you even have your email written. So simply enter “change later” in the subject line, write your email and then once you’ve written your email – go back and change your subject line to something that fits.

I’m not saying you ALWAYS need to do this… Sometimes it’s easier if you start with the subject line and then write the email based on that… That’s great too… However if you’re stumped on the subject line – go and write the email and then go back and write the subject line after using any of the strategies below.

Tip #2: See what makes you open… and create a swipe file 

Subscribe to a few different email lists that you enjoy. If they send an email with a catchy email that gets your attention – save that email! Create a separate inbox called “Email Marketing Tips” and move that email from your “inbox” into your “Email Marketing Tips” folder. Now wherever you’re stuck for a subject line – you can just scroll this folder and model something that gets your attention.

For example, I subscribe to the “Tinder Files” (a newsletter to anyone on the Tinder app) and there subject line was 

“7 Mistakes Every Guy Makes on His Tinder Profile”…. It got me to open :p 

So the next email I send out, the title was

“7 Mistakes Every Course Creator Makes on Their Instagram Profile”

Tip #3: Autodirect your Email Marketing Tips Folder

There’s always that fine balance between – wanting to subscribe to email lists to get good content / tips… and then your inbox getting flooded with too many emails so you unsubscribe from them all… So my way around that is this

  1. Subscribe to a few mailing lists that enjoy
  2. Create a separate folder in your inbox called ‘Email Ideas’
  3. Auto direct these emails (the mailing list ones) to go straight to your ‘Email Ideas’ inbox

This way it doesn’t clog up your inbox and if you’re stumped for subject lines, you can simply go to this folder and read the last 10000 email subject lines, find one that gets your attention and model your subject line from it.

Tip #4: Use a ‘Subject / Headline Line’ Generator 

There’s HEAPS of these around… and there’s going to be more popping up by the time you read this, so what I want you to do is google “email subject line generator” and see what comes up. As of today, I use the “Active Campaign” one. For example if I type “Email Subject Line” or “open rate” in the generator it will give me examples like

15 things you didn’t know about email subject lines

This might be the best way to create your email subject line

Increase your open rate! NOW

How you can increase your open rate almost instantly

How to fix your low open rate in 5minutes

4 questions answered about low open rates

That literally took me 2 minutes to type it in the generator and those open rates are way better than what I could have thought up myself! 

Tip #5: Use Google… (you know what they say about the Internet)

Simply type in Google “Best Email Subject Lines 2021” (or whatever year it is when you’re reading this). You’ll find a HEAP of blogs from organisations that give away their best subject lines. For example I typed in and found the following blogs

(Updated) 164 Best Email Subject Lines to Boost Open Rates

25 Best Subject Lines to Boot Open Rates in 2021

38 Cold Email Subject Lines for Emails That Get Read (2021)

Now I have no doubt in my mind, if I opened and read those blogs out of the 200+ email subject lines I would be able to find AT LEAST one I could use!

Caveat: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet… Just because these blogs “claim’ these subject lines are their best… It doesn’t necessarily mean they are… Doesn’t mean you can’t get ideas from them – it just means, use some judgement.

Tip #6: Check your stats from the last 3 months

Create an excel spreadsheet and track all the emails you’ve sent out over the past 3 months… Make sure two of the things you track are

  • The subject line you used
  • Your open rate

You’ll be able to see patterns of ‘types of subject lines’ that usually get high open rates and ‘types of subject lines’ that usually get low open rates. The last time I did this exercise I realised.

The subject line

Announcing (insert the new product i’m launching)

Would always get a really high open rate! 

And any subject line that was super sales-y

E.g. 50% discount ends tonight

Would always get a really low open rate.

So I was able to adjust my open rates usual that data!

Tip 7: Use Formulas

These plenty of headline formula’s out there! My favourite formula’s come from Copywriter Jim Edwards (he’s actually Russell Brunson’s copywriter) and his book “Copywriting Secrets”. I recommend reading Jim’s book but if you want an idea of a few of Jim’s formula’s.

“How to _____”

“How to _____ in as little as ____”

“How to _____ in as little _____ even if _____”

For example

How to create your first online course

How to create your first online course in as little as 7 days

How to create your first online course in as little as 7 days even if you suck at tech

These are just a couple of examples Jim uses – if you want a heap more, grab a copy of his book!

Bonus Tip: Study the experts.. I’m a huge reader myself so i’m always reading what the experts are doing… Russell Brunson, Dan Henry, Jeff Walker, Ray Edwards etc… If you’re not sure where to start, i’d recommend reading my blog on “The 5 Books Every Course Creator Should Read“.

Anyways, theres your 7 tips – give up a crack and let me know what you think! 

In the meantime – feel free to join my Course Creator Community Facebook Group! There are thousands of course creators in there, everyone is super supportive and we all share tips and ideas! Click here to join.

Blog Author

Jono Petrohilos

Director at Course Creator Community
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